All 50 ranked teams written up with explanations for why they were placed in these positions with comparisons to preseason ranking. The FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com is the official rankings of the National Sports News Service, which date back to the 1952 season. Montverde Academy of Florida is the 2019-20 mythical national champion, the fifth title for the program since 2013 and perhaps its best ever team.
Compiled by Ronnie Flores
(Preseason ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates season cut short due to COVID-19 Pandemic.)
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1. (2) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 25-0***
It was a close call between the Eagles and No. 5 IMG Academy for the No. 1 spot in the 2019-20 preseason FAB 50. It came down to IMG Academy defeating Montverde Academy at GEICO Nationals on the way to its first mythical national title in 2018-19. Had Montverde Academy won a game it was leading by 16 points, it would have went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in 2019-20. Instead, it moved up to No. 1 after IMG lost to preseason No. 4 Paul IV at the DC Hoopfest (67-56) and never looked back, rattling off 25 consecutive dominant wins while capturing the program’s fifth FAB 50 title in eight seasons. The Eagles stamped their place as one of the greatest teams in high school basketball history by defeating 12 FAB 50 ranked team en route to one of the largest winning margins (39.0 ppg) among elite high school teams we’ve ever uncovered. Only one team played coach Kevin Boyle’s team in single digits and that was IMG Academy in the title game of the City of Palms Classic (63-55). The Eagles defeated the Ascenders twice more and no other team game within 20 points of this juggernaut. Cade Cunningham (13.9 ppg) was the 2019-20 Mr. Basketball USA choice and do-it-all Scottie Barnes (11.6 ppg) joined him as the first pair of first five All-Americans on the same high school team since 1975. Montverde had a third McDonald’s All-American in its lineup in Day’Ron Sharpe (12.1 ppg) and its bench in all likelihood was FAB 50 level as its own separate unit. Without the luxury of participating at GEICO Nationals, the Eagles were robbed of some well-deserved national acclaim as one of the best units ever, but three more potential games against ranked foes didn’t change just how dominant this team was in its 25 games. Just how great this team is considered versus other historically great teams as the years go by will be determined by how successful the roster is on the next levels of the game, but that won’t change the Eagles’ standing as the best team since the turn of the century. Expect the Eagles to challenge for No. 1 once again in 2020-21 with sophomores Caleb Houstan (10.0 ppg), an underclass All-American, and Dariq Whitehead (8.3 ppg) leading the charge.
2. (23) Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 27-2***
If there was one team who really had something to prove at GEICO Nationals it was the Tigers, as they were eager to show the country they did more than just win games at the right time. Coach David Evans’ team does finish ranked behind Montverde Academy, but the outbreak of COVID-19 meant there was no results from the end-of-season tournament to show if there was truly a second great team this season other than the FAB 50 champs. Wasatch Academy lost a competitive game (without Michigan St.-bound Maddy Sissoko) to No. 10 Oak Hill Academy (76-68) in the title game of the Iolani Classic with the other loss coming against a St. Benedict’s of New Jersey team ineligible for the FAB 50. Wasatch Academy got key wins versus No. 11 Paul VI (57-53) at the Cancer Research Classic and versus No. 6 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (94-82) at the Kevin Durant MLK Classic. The reason the Tigers are able to finish in this spot is No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy lost to HHCA. With a balanced attack of five-double digit scorers, it would have been interesting to see if this team had Sissoko (12.2 ppg) available for GEICO Nationals, as he played in 13 games total. Seniors Richie Saunders (14.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and cat-quick Mike Saunders (14.4 ppg) had plenty of big scoring nights, Caleb Lohner (14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) held down the front court in Sissoko’s absence and sophomore Ricky “Pop Pop” Isaacs (14.2 ppg, 5.7 apg) could distribute or knock down big shots equally well.
3. (12) Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 22-3***
More than one national scout felt the Buffaloes were the second most talented team in the country, but they must remain behind Wasatch Academy because they have one more loss than that club, including a 61-59 loss to No. 6 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Wasatch beat that club). Coach Luke Barnwell’s club also lost to Huntington Prep of West Virginia (ineligible for the FAB 50 this year) and a Memphis East club that had some quality wins. The Buffaloes defeated No. 4 DeMatha Catholic at the D.C. Hoopfest (75-67) and also recorded wins over No. 7 La Lumiere (52-39) and No. 8 St. Frances Academy (73-55) with the loss to HHCA sandwiched in between. Led by underclass All-American Kendall Brown (13.3 ppg) and Northwestern-bound Ty Berry (11.6 ppg), the Buffaloes earned their second consecutive GEICO Nationals berth, where they were slated to open the tournament versus No. 9 Oak Hill Academy in what was a No. 3 vs. No. 6 game. The other announced matchups for the event were FAB 50 No. 2 Wasatch Academy vs. No. 5 IMG Academy (2 vs. 7 game), No. 1 Montverde Academy vs. Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) in what was the 1 vs. 8 game, and FAB 50 No. 7 La Lumiere vs. No. 10 Dorman (4 vs. 5 game). Which of those seven clubs had the ability to give MVA a run for its money?
4. (3) DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 30-3***
Similar to the preseason No. 1 vs. No. 2 debate with IMG Academy and Montverde Academy, it was a close call between DeMatha and Paul VI for the No. 3 spot as the top team from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). We went with the Stags and it was one debate we came out on the right side of, as coach Mike Jones’ club defeated No. 11 Paul VI two out of three times, including a 70-56 victory over the Panthers in the WCAC Tournament championship game. DeMatha also lost to No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy and were a bit overwhelmed by No. 1 Montverde Academy (76-56). Led by WCAC Player of the Year (17.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 2.1 bpg) Hunter Dickinson and Miami-bound Earl Timberlake (16.5 ppg), the legendary program won the conference crown by three games and also defeated No. 28 St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, No. 41 Mater Dei and highly-regarded Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.). After capturing the WCAC regular season and conference tournament, DeMatha was all set to finish its season at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational, but the event was canceled over COVID-19 concerns. The field also included No. 8 St. Frances Academy, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, Paul VI, and No. 27 Gonzaga.
5. (1) IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 19-6***
The preseason No. 1 team in the FAB 50 didn’t quite have the season it wanted, but it was still a force on a national level. In fact, coach Sean McAloon’s club is the only team that displayed the ability to be competitive with No. 1 Montverde Academy. Three of the Ascenders’ losses were to the Eagles and they were the only club to play them within 20 points (76-64) and within 10 (63-55), so we’re a bit perplexed by IMG Academy’s positioning in other credible national rankings. IMG Academy only lost to one team that didn’t finish in the FAB 50 (Briarcrest Christian of Tennessee) and also recorded wins over No. 38 Archbishop Stepinac (80-67), No. 8 St. Frances Academy (85-67) before losing to No. 14 Poly in what turned out to be its second-to-last game of the season. IMG Academy did receive an invite to GEICO Nationals and with Tennessee-bound Jaden Springer (17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.1 apg) leading the way, a healthy IMG club could have fared well at the event as a No. 7 seed. We’ll always wonder how this team would have fared had it had true point guard play to assist Springer’s game and if Jalen Johnson (an All-American in 2018-19) had not left the team before it got its season rolling.
6. (19) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 28-3 The Hawks had a successful season after the school nearly shut down the program and closed its doors in the off-season. HHCA won the National Association of Christian Athletes title after a successful independent campaign that saw the Hawks record plenty of key wins. Coach Zach Farrell’s club fell to No. 2 Wasatch Academy, but was able to defeat No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy after rallying from a 15-point halftime deficit. The Hawks also defeated No. 39 West Oaks Academy (64-61) in the Lighthouse Classic title game and defeated talented Hillcrest Prep of Arizona (67-52), a program that defeated No. 7 La Lumiere. Led by Samson Ruzhentsev (19.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), an explosive wing who garnered some All-American acclaim, the Hawks are the highest-ranked eligible team not selected for GEICO Nationals. It’s late-season loss to Sunshine Independent Athletic Association club The Rock of Florida hurt its candidacy, but HHCA actually had a split with that club this season.
7. (9) La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 23-3***
It was another successful season for coach Patrick Holmes’ club, as the Lakers earned their seventh invite to compete at GEICO Nationals. The Lakers split games with Prolific Prep of California (a team ineligible for the FAB 50 but invited to GEICO Nationals for the first time), beat the St. Benedict’s team (in overtime) that No. 2 Wasatch Academy lost to, and also defeated No. 27 Gonzaga (47-42). La Lumiere won GEICO Nationals in 2017, was No. 1 in the FAB 50 for a majority of the season in 2019 and will be good once again in 2021, as this season’s roster only had three seniors on it. Eastern Kentucky-bound point guard Wendell Green Jr. will be missed at point guard, but Holmes has a terrific building block returning in underclass All-American choice Kamari Lands, a 6-foot-7 sophomore wing.
8. (7) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) 38-4***
The Panthers finished right in the range we expected them to, and would have had an opportunity to make even more noise at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational had the prestigious tournament not been canceled because of COVID-19. Coach Nick Miles’ club defeated No. 14 Poly (57-53) in a much-anticipated Charm City showdown at Morgan State University. The only teams the Panthers did not beat on its schedule finished ranked higher: No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy and No. 5 IMG Academy. St. Frances Academy split four games with regionally ranked Mt. St. Joseph of Baltimore, losing to that club 76-63 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association title game and defeating them in the last of four meetings, 81-65, in the Baltimore Catholic League title game. Led by South Alabama-bound Jamal West (16.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Virginia Commonwealth commit Adrian “Ace” Baldwin (11.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.3 apg), the Panthers defeated No. 9 Oak Hill Academy (80-61) at the East Coast Bump at UMBC and also beat No. 39 West Oaks Academy (67-65), a team Oak Hill lost to at home. Baldwin capped his four-year career with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the BCL title game and was named the tourney’s MVP for the third consecutive year and helped the program to a combined five MIAA and BCL titles.
9. (8) Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 37-3***
The Warriors began this season with their lowest preseason ranking since 1988-89, when coach Steve Smith’s club was unranked but had a stellar year (22-2, FAB 50 No. 12). This season, Smith knew his team would start off ranked a bit lower than usual, but he had high expectations because he sensed this club had excellent chemistry. For the most part, he was right on and his team played to the level we expected. The veteran coach upped his record to 1,178-80 with a unit he felt could have made some noise at GEICO Nationals. Led by All-American Cam Thomas (LSU), Oak Hill Academy defeated No. 11 Paul VI to win the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, defeated No. 25 Bishop Gorman at the Hoophall Classic and handed No. 10 Dorman its only loss of the season. Coach Smith makes no bones about the losses to No. 8 St. Frances Academy and to No. 39 West Oaks Academy (its first home loss since the 1996-97 season), as he felt his team just did not play well. In addition to Thomas (Oak Hill’s all-time leading scorer who averaged 31.4 ppg), guard K.K. Robinson (Arkansas) and forward Jamari Sibley (Georgetown) also had excellent seasons for a program that will be strong once again in 2020-21.
10. (39) Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 30-1***
The Cavaliers got plenty of ink in the preseason, but they ended up being better than expected on their way to a fourth consecutive SCHSL Class 5A state crown. Dorman was creeping its way into contention for that coveted No. 2 FAB 50 spot after winning the Beach Ball Classic with a win over No. 33 St. John’s of Washington, D.C., but when the Cadets began dropping WCAC games after the New Year’s and dropping in the rankings, it made sense Dorman be behind the Oak Hill Academy team it lost to, 63-52, earlier in the season. Dorman was selected to participate in GEICO Nationals, and even was going to host it after the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out in New York City, but eventually the event had to be cancelled altogether. Led by Butler-bound point guard Myles Tate and Clemson-bound forward P.J. Hall, Dorman not only became the first South Carolina team to capture the Beach Ball Classic since 1986, it tied the SCHSL modern era record of four straight state titles first set by Calhoun County in 2006-09. Over that time frame, Dorman is 84-4 against in-state competition, another feather in the cap for a small state team.
11. (4) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 27-8***
The Panthers are the first team in the rankings with a high number of losses, but they only lost to one unranked club (twice): WCAC foe Bishop McNamara. Coach Glen Farello’s club was still able to finish second place in WCAC play behind No. 4 DeMatha Catholic, a team it beat once in three games. The battle-tested Panthers fell to No. 2 Wasatch Academy (57-53), to No. 9 Oak Hill Academy (72-57) and No. 36 Archbishop Stepinac (70-64), but they made up for those losses with regular season wins over No. 5 IMG Academy (67-56) and No. 17 Sierra Canyon (70-62). They also swept the St. John’s of Washington, D.C. club that was ranked in the Top 10 for some time and finished No. 33 in the FAB 50. Led by two-time All-Met choices Jeremy Roach (Duke) and Trevor Keels, Paul VI advanced to the WCAC title game where it fell to DeMatha, 70-56. Paul VI was able to bounce back and defeat No. 28 St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (67-59) in the Virginia Independent School Schools Athletic Association D1 title game. Keels is one of the nation’s best juniors and Farello will once again have a terrific backcourt with sophomore Knasir “Dug” McDaniel taking on a bigger role. The Panthers will welcome back 11 of 15 lettermen in 2020-21.
12. (NR) Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 28-0***
The Eagles were in the midst of a storybook season when the Minnesota State High School Public League canceled its state tournament on March 12. The Eagles were the top seed in the state tournament and an unbeaten Class 4A state crown would have pushed this club into the top 10. We’ll never know how the state tournament would have played out, but coach David Flom’s team does deserve this ranking based on results. Eden Prairie got the big win during the regular season it needed, a 78-64 victory over No. 15 Minnehaha Academy, as the Eagles were red hot from the outside in the big 3A vs. 4A showdown. John Henry (University of Sioux Falls) hit seven 3-pointers and led four double-digit scorers with 29 points. Eden Prairie also defeated in-state clubs Cretin-Derham Hall and Hopkins that Minnehaha Academy lost to before at full strength. Incredibly, Henry, Drake Dobbs (Liberty), Austin Andrews (Minnesota-Duluth), and Connor Christian (Dartmouth) all scored over 1,000 career points and all averaged between 18.8 and 12.7 ppg this season. Needless to say it was a special senior class for Flom and a unit we should have given more preseason credence to in our Midwest Regional Top 20. We’ll never know if Eden Prairie would have finished out unbeaten, but it now goes down as the highest rated team ever from Minnesota, besting the Hopkins of Minnetonka team that finished No. 15 in 2011.
13. (20) Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 22-3***
During the week of March 9 is when things began to rapidly change around county because of COVID-19. With the New York Federation Tournament of Champions scheduled for March 27-29 at Fordham University, coach John Buck’s club obviously never got a chance to defend their Federation Class AA title, as New York was the country’s hardest hit state by Novel Coronavirus. LuHi closed out its season by hosting the LuHi Postseason Invitational and defeating Albany Academy in overtime (102-101). That team was the defending Class A champs and also heading back to the Feds tournament. Led by Class AA co-Player of the Year Andre Curbelo (17.2 ppg) and first team all-state choice Zed Key (17.8 ppg), LuHi defeated talented Patrick School of New Jersey (68-63) and downed No. 17 Sierra Canyon (86-74) right before hosting its own invitational. Another key win came over No. 35 Garfield (66-63). Similar to No 14 Poly, LuHi lost to No. 33 St. John’s and also fell to No. 2 Wasatch Academy (68-58) and to top-ranked Montverde Academy (83-47)
14. (NR) Poly (Baltimore, Md.) 24-2***
Unlike No. 12 Eden Prairie, we knew plenty about the Engineers in the preseason and they should have been in the FAB 50 or right outside it in the preseason East Region Top 20. Coach Sam Brand club’s was coming off its third consecutive MPSSAA Class 3A state crown and was two victories from a fourth straight title before the outbreak of COVID-19 cancelled the remainder of the tournament. Poly was disappointed in its 57-53 loss to No. 8 St. Frances Academy, as the Panthers hit their free throws down the stretch in the battle for city supremacy. Poly lost to No. 33 St. John’s of Washington, D.C., at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina, where it beat two regionally-ranked opponents in addition to defeating Coronado of Henderson, Nev., which was a preseason FAB 50 ranked team. Led by Baltimore Sun co-Player of the Year Justin Lewis (Marquette), City Player of the Year Brandon Murray (21.7 ppg) and four-year starting point guard Rahim Ali (Howard), the big win of the season was a 62-60 victory over No. 5 IMG Academy, as Ali scored on a reverse lay-up with eight seconds remaining. Lewis averaged 19.3 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 4.4 bpg, had 18 double-double performances and graduates as the program’s third all-time leading scorer (1,374 points). Freshman Kwame Evans Jr. has the ability to one day put up those type of numbers for Brand.
15. (14) Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) 25-3***
Some were calling this club potentially the best ever to lace them up in Minnesota, and it looked the part in defeating No. 17 Sierra Canyon, 78-58, before 17,378 fans at the Target Center. Led by two All-Americans, Gonzaga-bound guard Jalen Suggs, and talented junior center Chet Holmgrem, the Red Hawks actually lost two early in-state games when not 100 percent healthy, but regardless the victory margin over Sierra Canyon was a bit surprising as Suggs had 23 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six steals. An effective zone (which the Red Hawks never practice) in the second half made Holmgren even more of a presence, as he finished with 10 points and 12 blocks. The greatest team of all-time talk was out the window after the 78-64 setback to No. 11 Eden Prairie, but since Sierra Canyon ended up as California’s top-rated team for the third consecutive season, coach Lance Johnson’s club goes down tied with the 2011 Hopkins club as the second highest ranked team ever from the state three spots behind Eden Prairie. COVID-19 likely cost Suggs a chance to hit the 3,000 career points mark, but it was still a memorable season and career for the two-time All-American. He finished with 2,945 career points while averaging 23.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.0 apg and 3.9 spg. Not only was he named the state’s Mr. Basketball, the nation’s top Grid-Hoop athlete also earned state Mr. Football honors, the first Minnesota athlete to achieve that double. With Holmgren and sophomore guard Prince Aligbe back next season, Minnehaha Academy could be a FAB 50 contender once again.
16. (NR) Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.) 26-0***
The Panthers are one of 37 FAB 50 teams whose seasons were affected by COVID-19, as they won three playoff games before their season came to an abrupt halt. The Panthers were Indiana’s top-rated club and an unbeaten Class 4A champ in Indiana will receive plenty of rankings credit. Indiana-bound Anthony Leal (18.2 ppg) was impressive enough as a standout scorer and all-around player to win the state’s coveted Mr. Basketball award. Leal and his teammates were shocked the season came to a quick end and the lack of out-of-state competition meant this team can be ranked no higher. Unlike No. 12 Eden Prairie, a loss would have sent this team tumbling in the rankings but we’ll never know how the season would have played out for those affected Indiana teams.
17. (6) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 30-4***
A few event operators asked us in the preseason if the Trailblazers were the No. 2 or No. 3 team in the country (presumably behind Montverde Academy and IMG Academy). Everyone loves to promote their event with the top team in the country in attendance, but we were frank about our “No”. The Trailblazers deserved high accolades in the preseason, but fall to this spot because they dropped three out-of-state showcase games. Sierra Canyon lost to No. 15 Minnehaha Academy (78-58) at the Target Center, fell to No. 11 Paul VI at the Hoophall Classic (70-62), and to No. 13 Long Island Lutheran (86-74) at the Metro Classic in New Jersey. Although California teams were a bit down from a national perspective (which is reflected here), Sierra Canyon took care of business back home, as it avenged its only in-state loss to regionally-ranked Rancho Christian of Temecula with a resounding 78-62 victory to re-gain the state’s No. 1 ranking the game after losing to Minnehaha Academy. Stanford-bound Ziaire Williams (15.0 ppg, 7.9 reg) was terrific in the loss to Rancho Christian, which was his first game of the season, while Kentucky-bound B.J. Boston (20.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) was the team’s most consistent performer and named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball. Williams hit the shot at the buzzer to lift Sierra Canyon to a 63-61 victory over No. 24 Etiwanda to win the SoCal Open title in dramatic fashion. Sierra Canyon was unable to capture a third consecutive CIF open title because of COVID-19, but will have a chance to be the California’s top-ranked team for the fourth consecutive season next year with talents such as Amari Bailey, the state sophomore of the year, big man Harold Yu, and freshman LeBron James Jr. all returning.
18. (BB) Camden (Camden, N.J.) 29-1***
We began “The High” No. 19 in the East Region Top 20, but this relatively young club got into gear quicker than expected, and was rolling along as The Garden State’s No. 1 ranked team before COVID-19 ended its run at the Tournament of Champions crown. Coach Rick Brunson’s club defeated Haddonfield, 70-42, to capture the South Jersey Group 2 final after losing to that same club last season for the title. After losing to Roman Catholic of Philadelphia (which began No. 42 in the preseason FAB 50) on December 30, the Panthers rattled off 25 consecutive wins to close the season, including a 63-51 victory over No. 40 Roselle Catholic and a 61-59 win over Rancho Christian of California (which split with No. 17 Sierra Canyon). Kentucky-bound Lance Ware had 18 points, 14 rebounds and four steals in the win over Rancho Christian at Hoophall Classic and averaged 11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 1.3 bpg and was Brunson’s most versatile player. The team’s leading scorer was freshman D.J. Wagner, a 6-2 guard who hit for 18.5 ppg with a high of 32. His grandfather Milt led Camden to a national ranking in 1981 and D.J. hopes to one day match the feat of his father, Dajuan, in leading the Panthers to a New Jersey TOC crown. In 1999-2000, Camden finished No. 16 in the FAB 50 with a 28-5 mark during Dajuan Wagner’s junior season.
19. (25) Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 25-1***
The Fighting Crusaders saw a 50-game winning streak snapped in a 64-59 loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron (a team No. 17 Sierra Canyon defeated) in their second game. Moeller defeated Saint V’s in the OHSAA Division I state title game in 2018-19, but after that game, coach Karl Kremer’s club didn’t lose again and was in prime position to capture a third consecutive D1 state crown before the state tournament was cancelled due to the nation’s ongoing pandemic. Moeller got to the regional final with No. 21 St. Edward sitting on the opposite side of the bracket. Even though the Fighting Crusaders weren’t able to defend their title on the court, it was another fantastic season for a club that has been FAB 50 ranked the past four seasons and compiled a 109-5 record in that time. St. Francis (PA) bound Max Land (14.1 ppg) was a first team all-Ohio selection and Kremer has two excellent building blocks for next season in all-stater Logan Duncomb (13.8 ppg), a 6-foot-9 junior, and Alex Williams, a 6-foot-4 junior forward. If it wasn’t for COVID-19 this past season or a disputed foul in 2016-17, Moeller could conceivably be gunning for a fifth consecutive state crown in 2020-21.
20. (28) Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 31-3**
The defending University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A state champions got back to the state Final Four before the remainder of the state tourney was called off. In 2018-19, Duncanville started out on the FAB 50 bubble and began the season 7-7 before closing on a 25-game winning streak. This season, coach David Peavy’s club was more consistent from the beginning and rebounded nicely from back-to-back losses to No. 1 Montverde Academy (84-51) and No. 17 Sierra Canyon (66-63) at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest. Duncanville defeated No. 22 Lancaster, The Rock of Florida (a club that beat No. 6 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy) and lost its only in-state game to Richardson, a squad it split with by a total of six points. Micah Peavy, the coach’s son who was MVP of the 2019 state final, had a stellar senior season and is headed to Texas Tech. He was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic after averaging 17.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.1 apg and 2.5 spg with a season-high 37 points vs. Richardson. Senior point guard Ja’Bryant Hill (9.9 ppg) was a steadying force and Peavy has two solid building blocks for next season with junior guards Juan Reyna (10.9 ppg) and Damon Nicholas (10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg) returning.
21. (BB) St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 25-1***
Coach Eric Flannery’s club began the season ranked No. 11 in the Midwest Region Top 20 and worked its way up into the FAB 50 as a major OHSAA Division I state title contender. The Eagles lost only to Hilliard Bradley (60-50) in December and that club lost only one other game and was still alive on the same side of the D1 bracket with No. 19 Moeller when the season was called. It’s not easy to predict which club would have walked away with the state title, but an Ohio D1 state champ with 1 or 2 losses would have been ranked among the Top 25. St. Ed’s excellent season was built around all-state picks Grant Huffman (17.0 ppg) and Devontae Blanton (17.1 ppg).
22. (BB) Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas) 35-2**
The Tigers had a terrific season and were in line to capture the UIL Class 5A state crown when the season was called because of COVID-19. Coach Ferrin Douglas’ club started out just outside the FAB 50 at No. 10 in the Southwest Region and technically did not lose a game in-state. The Tigers fell to No. 20 Duncanville, 89-83, but the game was later ruled a forfeit win for Lancaster. We go by on-court results (and have since the advent of the FAB 50 in 1987-88) so since both clubs won their last game, both advanced to the state finals (in different classifications) and both were unable to complete their respective season, Duncanville finishes two sports higher in the final analysis. The only other on-court loss for the Tigers was a 69-47 setback at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest to Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), a program that qualified for GEICO Nationals for the first time. Junior Wade Taylor IV had a terrific season, averaging 15.7 ppg, 4.3 apg and 3.3 spg while TCU-bound point guard Mike Miles was named the TABC Class 5A Player of the Year.
23. (NR) Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 24-7
The Wildcats have made many appearances in the FAB 50 over the years, but this year’s appearance in the Top 25 is a bit surprising after seven regular season losses. It’s necessary, however, after coach Larry Thompson’s club shocked No. 26 Grayson in the GHSA Class AAAAAAA state final, 60-59, after losing to the same club, 73-68, during the regular season. Grayson was sitting at No. 4 in the FAB 50 at the time and the loss not only cost it a state title berth but also a bid to GEICO Nationals (which was never played). Wheeler’s Sam Hines Jr. had a monster final, going 11-of-12 from the field, scoring 28 points, grabbing nine rebounds and hitting the game-winning free throw. Hines (17.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg) earned some All-American acclaim while Prince Davies (10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) was another senior standout. One silver lining that stands out about this club is it was never blown out in any of the losses and learning how to play in those close games paid off in the end. Thompson has two nice building blocks for next season in junior forward Ja’Hiem Hudson (11.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and freshman guard Isaiah Collier (11.2 ppg, 3.9 apg).
24. (29) Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 30-4
The Eagles finished right in the range we expected for them in the preseason, and unfortunately that means just a shade below California No. 1 Sierra Canyon. You have to feel a bit for Etiwanda, as it fell to Sierra Canyon in the 2018 SoCal Open regional final in overtime, lost to Onyeka Okongwu and Chino Hills in the 2019 SoCal D1 regional final after that club closed on a 13-0 run and lost this year once again to Sierra Canyon in the SoCal open final under hard-to-believe circumstances unless you saw the game. In its third game against the Trailblazers this season, it looked like Etiwanda finally had Sierra Canyon’s number but a 11-point lead with three minutes to play evaporated and Etiwanda lost at the buzzer on a jumper by Ziaire Williams. Etiwanda fell to 0-5 all-time in regional finals and ironically if it had pulled out the game, it would have never enjoyed its first trip to a CIF final because of COVID-19. Etiwanda, led by all-state forward Jaylen Clark (UCLA) and all-stater Camren Pierce (Ca Poly SLO) at point guard, defeated Rancho Christian (67-61) and No. 41 Mater Dei (65-61) in the SoCal open playoffs. Three of its losses were to Sierra Canyon and the contributions of seniors D.J. Jackson, Brantley Stevenson and Tyree Campbell can’t be overlooked in another successful season under veteran coach Dave Kleckner.
25. (5) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 29-3
Nevada’s top overall program earned its second-highest preseason ranking ever (it opened up No. 4 in 2014-15) and captured the program’s ninth consecutive Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA) state title and its 11th in the past 12 seasons. It may seem as the Gaels didn’t live up to preseason expectations, but they lost veteran center Isiah Cottrell (West Virginia) and his backup (sophomore Max Allen) to transfer after the preseason rankings were released. Stanford-bound senior Noah Taitz also didn’t suit up and had we known those three players wouldn’t be part of the equation in the preseason, Gorman would have started right in this range. Junior guard Zaon “Sauce” Collins (14 ppg, 8 apg, 3 spg) has been the catalyst the past two years and he led the Gaels to wins over No. 34 Sheldon (75-66), No. 40 Roselle Catholic (55-47) and over regionally-ranked Harvard Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.). LSU-bound wing Mwani Wilkinson (19 ppg, 10 rpg, 4 bpg) also stepped up big time in Cottrell’s absence for a team that will be strong once again in 2020-21 with UCLA-bound Will McClendon (16 ppg) returning in the backcourt for coach Grant Rice (503–102).
26. (17) Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 30-2
The FAB 50 was way ahead of the curve nationally when it came to the Rams’ prowess, as they let the country be known they were a force to be reckoned with when they avenged their overtime loss (84-80) to Newton with a resounding 86-39 win. They also defeated defending GHSA Class AAAAAAA state champ McEachern (83-57) and No. 43 Mountain Brook (71-60). Grayson rose to No. 4 in the FAB 50 and was in line for a GEICO Nationals berth before falling to No. 23 Wheeler 60-59 in the Class AAAAAAA state title game. What made it even more gut-wrenching was it had defeated the Wildcats earlier in the season, 73-68. Grayson was highly-regarded because of three D1-bound seniors, led by All-American point guard Deivon Smith (17.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 8.4 apg, 3.2 spg). South Florida-bound Caleb Murphy and Winthrop-bound Toneari Lane were the other key cogs for a team that beat every team on its schedule.
27. (11) Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 25-10***
The Purple Eagles came in third in the WCAC as we predicted in the preseason, one game behind No. 11 Paul VI and one game in front of No. 33 St. John’s. Gonzaga, however, just had a few too many losses to fall in the range of its preseason billing. Coach Steve Turner’s club did have a high number of losses, but only one of those clubs (WCAC club Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland) was never in the FAB 50. Led by two-time All-Met choice and Gonzaga recruit Terrance Williams (over 2,000 career points), the Purple Eagles defeated Paul VI once in three games, split with St. John’s, defeated No. 28 St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes and won the program’s second D.C. State Athletic Association title. A strong senior class will move on with Malcolm Dread leading a group of seven returning lettermen.
28. (NR) St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.) 26-4***
The Saints had a terrific season and naturally fall in the rankings right behind the Gonzaga of Washington, D.C. team if fell to, 69-63. The other losses for coach Mike Jones’ club are to No. 4 DeMatha, No. 11 Paul VI and the St. Benedict’s Prep of New Jersey. The Saints defeated Episcopal of Alexandria four times, including a 74-65 win to capture their second consecutive Interstate Athletic Conference title. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes fell to Paul VI, 67-59, in the VISSA D1 final. Leading the charge for the Saints was Radford-bound Xavier Lipscomb (11 ppg, 6 rpg, 6 apg) with seniors Andre Screen (12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Jared Cross (14.3 ppg) also making huge contributions for the back-to-back IAC champions. Lipscomb and Screen were both first team all-VISAA selections.
29. (22) Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 34-3
The Hornets were as good as advertised in the preseason and were able to complete what they set our forth by capturing a fourth consecutive LHSAA D1 state crown. Scotlandville was fortunate that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association was one of the four states to complete its state tourney the weekend of March 13-14 after most of the country shut down play before the weekend. The other states to complete state tournaments that weekend were Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico. Coach Carlos Sample’s club steamrolled then No. 50 St. Augustine of New Orleans, 66-39, as All-American Reece Beekman was named the game’s MOP (16 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) with a limited number of fans in attendance. With Beekman, who averaged a triple double the past two seasons, and all-stater Tai’Reon Joseph (19.8 ppg) in the lineup, Scotlandville went 126-11 over the past four seasons. Scotlandville lost big to No. 1 Montverde Academy, but defeated regionally-ranked Vashon of St. Louis and No. 38 Archbishop Stepinac. It’s a loss to McEachern of Georgia that prevents a higher ranking since No. 26 Grayson easily defeated that club.
30. (NR) Jackson South Side (Jackson, Tenn.) 32-0***
As we followed this club’s rise from the bubble ranks, we were eager to see if the Hawks could roll to a TSSAA Class AA title. An unbeaten run to a Tennessee Class AA D1 state crown would have meant a Top 25 ranking, but the season came to a close after the Hawks defeated Covington, 77-57, on March 9 after defeating South Gibson for the Region 7-AA title on March 5. Coach DaMonn Fuller’s club defeated Poplar Bluff of Missouri and regionally-ranked Southmoore of Oklahoma to win the Popular Bluff Showdown, but a lack of FAB 50 wins means the Hawks can climb no further without the additional results the state tournament would have provided. Senior J.J. Johnson and junior Brandon Maclin were named to the Class AA all-state team.
31. (NR) Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 29-2***
It was a season full of twists and turns but at the end of the day, coach Michael Oliver’s club goes down at Illinois’ best for 2019-20. The Condors had a terrific overall resume, defeating highly-regarded Bloom of Chicago Heights at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and defeating regionally-ranked Vashon of St. Louis (as did No. 29 Scotlandville). Oliver was suspended by the Chicago Public League and without him on the bench for many weeks, it was bad timing for Curie to come up with its worst outing of the season in a 79-69 setback to Simeon in the CPL semifinals. The Condors had defeated the eventual CPL champs earlier in the season and also split with a talented Callaway of Mississippi club that was on the FAB 50 bubble for a majority of the season. Ramean Hinton, a 6-foot-4 senior wing, was one of the most under appreciated talents in Illinois and his backcourt make, 5-foot-11 senior Elijah Pickens, epitomized the Curie roster: tough, experienced and capable of playing with anyone. Oliver’s club advanced to the IHSA’s Class 4A Sectionals where it was scheduled to meet city power Whitney Young before the season was called because of COVID-19.
32. (NR) Lee (Montgomery, Ala.) 33-1
The Lee Generals marched their way to a storybook season that concluded with a 40-38 victory over No. 43 Mountain Brook to capture the AHSAA Class 7A state crown. It is the first state title for Lee, which lost to Mountain Brook in the state semifinals in 2019. Coach Bryant Johnson’s club didn’t clinch the coveted crown until Deyunkrea Lewis rebounded a Mountain Brook missed field goal at the buzzer. With 18 seconds remaining, senior forward Jamari Smith nailed a three throw to put Lee in position to win the game. Senior guard De’Marquiese “Duke” Miles was named Class 7A tourney MVP with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals while Smith hit a free throw to put Lee ahead for good with 4:14 to go in a tight contest. Late in the regular season, Lee dropped a 83-82 contest to Pinson Valley which was its only blemish all season long. Beating Mountain Brook (which defeated No. 48 North Mecklenburg and other regionally ranked foes) helped Lee’s final ranking, but since that club lost to McEachern of Georgia (which beat No. 29 Scotlandville), the Generals can’t rise any further despite the sole one-point loss.
33. (NR) St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 24-9
For the a good portion of the 2010s, three WCAC clubs were consistently ranked in the weekly FAB 50, but the results this season warranted a fourth team from the powerful conference in the final rankings. After the turn of the New Year, St. John’s was 13-1 with its only loss to Dorman of South Carolina, which finished No. 10 in the FAB 50. The Cadets did start dropping games in WCAC play, but three of those were to No. 4 DeMatha and two of them to No. 11 Paul VI. Coach Patrick Behan’s club did split with No. 27 Gonzaga, and also defeated No. 14 Poly and No. 38 Archbishop Stepinac at the Beach Ball Classic. Rhode-Island commit Ishmael Leggett had a terrific senior campaign and 6-foot-7 freshman forward Amani Hansberry looks like a WCAC star of the future.
34. (BB) Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 28-5***
The Huskies are a bit tricky to rank because of the way the season concluded and because top player Marcus Bagley missed some key games. When he was in the lineup, Sheldon was a forced to be reckoned with and in contention to capture its third consecutive NorCal Open crown. It advanced to the NorCal open title game for the fourth straight year (and fifth time in eight years) with a 59-58 victory over Dublin on the road (as the No. 1 seed) after it was re-instated into the NorCal regional by the CIF following the Elk Grove Unified School District’s decision to shut down school-related activities for the week of March 9. That decision meant No. 17 Sierra Canyon had already advanced to the CIF final, while the Huskies were set to play regionally-ranked Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland on March 12 before the COVID-19 outbreak in the NBA changed sports plans around the country. Without Bagley in the lineup, Sheldon still advanced to the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic final (where it lost to JSerra of Capistrano Valley), lost to regionally-ranked Vashon of St. Louis and with him they were able to defeat No. 41 Mater Dei at the Tarkanian Classic, where it fell to host Bishop Gorman in the semifinals. The ASU-bound Bagley was named the Cal-Hi Sports NorCal POY, while senior guards Xavion Brown (Appalachian St.) and Josh Williams earned all-state laurels.
35. (NR) Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 26-4
Coach Brandon Roy (a former NBA All-Star) led Nathan Hale of Seattle to the 2017 FAB 50 national title and now has his alma mater raising a state crown after moving over to his old stomping grounds that off-season. The Bulldogs got their season off to relatively ho-hum start, losing to regionally ranked Archbishop Wood of Pennsylvania and to No. 13 Long Island Lutheran at the Iolani Classic. They peaked at the right time, however, and closed out their state title run with a resounding 69-44 victory over an O’Dea of Seattle club that was FAB 50 ranked for a majority of the season. Senior forward Tari Eason led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds vs. O’Dea, which beat Garfield by four points (64-60) in the Sea-King District 2 tournament and by 20 points on January 7. Garfield steamrolled an Eastside Catholic club (which beat No. 25 Gorman earlier in the season) in the semifinals, 74-46, after beating the Crusaders in two relatively close games earlier in the season. Eason, bound for Cincinnati, averaged 22.3 ppg and 15.7 rpg while 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Koren Johnson is in line to be the program’s next impact star.
36. (NR) St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 21-1***
It’s often difficult to judge Michigan teams because Michigan High School Athletic Association members are restricted in travel and because they traditionally play the bulk of their schedule much later than other states. This year’s analysis proved to be even more difficult because of COVID-19, but we peg the Eaglets as Michigan’s top-ranked team. It dropped one game to regionally-ranked Flint Beecher (which finished 20-2) and handed regionally-ranked Detroit Cass Tech its only loss. St. Mary Prep’s final victory was a 78-55 win over Bloomfield Hills in a District 1 semifinal, as sophomore Jason Drake II had a big game with 31 points. The Eaglets were set to take on Waterford Mott in a Division 1 district championship, but the playoffs were cancelled before it could take place. Wisconsin-bound Lorne Bowman II (25.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.2 apg) and Julian Roper II were St. Mary Prep’s catalyst all season long, as the Eaglets put a stop to University of Detroit Jesuit’s seven-year reign as Catholic League champs with a 61-54 victory. With Roper (18.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.6 spg) and Drake back next season, St. Mary Prep has high hopes to win a state tile on the court.
37. (BB) Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 30-2
We gave serious credence to placing the Yellowjackets in the 45-50 range of the preseason FAB 50 after winning the MHSAA Class 6A state title and finishing No. 37 in last year’s final rankings. We thought Starkville lost too much backcourt firepower, so we started it out No. 17 in the Southeast Region, but that clearly wasn’t the case. After defeating Murrah of Jackson, 58-51, coach Greg Carter’s club claimed back-to-back Class 6A state titles. Starkville lost to Meridian (55-51), the team it beat in last year’s final, in its second game and and didn’t lose again after December 20 (a 58-47 setback to Pontotoc). A key victory was the 65-63 state quarterfinal win over Olive Branch, a club that beat No. 43 Mountain Brook. Senior Forte Prater stepped up big in the backcourt all season long and came up big in the state final after last year’s state tourney MVP, senior forward Zeke Cook, missed significant portions of the season with injury.
38. (36) Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 18-9***
Similar to No. 34 Sheldon, the Crusaders are difficult to rate because their overall record does not reflect their ability at full strength. Last season, Stepinac was 14-16 mainly because junior A.J. Griffin played in only 16 games and this season he appeared in only 12 due to injury. At full strength Stepinac defeated Briarcrest Christian of Tennessee (which defeated the No. 5 IMG Academy club Stepinac lost to 80-67), O’Dea of Seattle (which like Briarcrest Christian was FAB 50 ranked for many weeks) and No. 11 Paul VI. Without Griffin (17.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg) the Crusaders were competitive, but with him well on their way to a second Catholic High School Athletic Association crown in three seasons before COVID-19 put at end to New York’s post-season. The constant in Stepinac’s arsenal was the play of North Carolina-bound R.J. Davis, who became Westchester County’s all-time leading scorer while averaging 26.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, and 2.1 spg.
39. (27) West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 28-7**
Coach Kenny Gillion’s club was on the verge of making some heavy FAB 50 noise or falling out of the rankings because of untimely losses. At the end of the day, we rewarded The Flame for playing in the tough Sunshine Independent Athletic Association and for its big road win over No. 9 Oak Hill Academy. West Oaks Academy lost to No. 8 St. Frances Academy by two points (67-65) and lost some games on the Grind Session against independent, academy-type programs. With a plethora of D1 talent on the roster, Gillion’s standout player was Kansas St.-bound Selton Miguel, who scored 27 points vs. Oak Hill Academy and was named SIAA MVP after averaging 21 ppg and 5.3 apg. The Flame did lose to regionally-ranked Central Pointe Christian Academy of Kissimmee in the SIAA title game, but beat that team twice during the regular season.
40. (13) Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 21-7***
We thought Garden State teams would be a bit stronger than they ended up, and that is reflected in Roselle Catholic’s final ranking. The Patrick School never jelled and didn’t fare well in national contests, but were able to defeat coach Dave Boff’s club three times. The Lions were able to defeat The Patrick School when it counted the most, with a 56-47 victory in the North Jersey, Non-Public B semifinals to align with our preseason choice to have the Lions ranked higher by two spots. After defeating highly-regarded Gill St. Bernard in the Non-Public B final, the Lions were gunning for their second New Jersey TOC crown in three years before the season was shut down by Novel Coronavirus that hit the Garden State hard. Boff’s club did lose to No. 25 Bishop Gorman, to No. 18 (and state No. 1) Camden and to St. Benedict’s of Newark in three consecutive games, so without the TOC results can’t be any higher in the rankings. St. Benedict’s transfer and Xavier commit C.J. Wilcher (18.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) had a fantastic season and big man Cliff Omoruyi (14.2 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 5.4 bpg) had a triple-double in the avenging win over The Patrick School with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.
41. (18) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 25-8
The California state power struggled at times during the regular season, but was still able to clinch at least a share of its league crown for the 32nd consecutive season, a state record according to Cal-Hi Sports. Led by Kentucky-bound Devin Askew, the Monarchs put it together in the post-season for the second consecutive season, as the advanced to the CIF Southern Section Open Division title game where they fell to No. 17 Sierra Canyon for the second straight year. Mater Dei struggled at time with national competition during the regular season, but defeated regionally-ranked Corona Centennial (who won the Tarkanian Classic over No. 25 Bishop Gorman) and Rancho Christian (split with Sierra Canyon) in the post-season. Askew (16.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 6.3 apg) was named Orange County Player of the Year.
42. (NR) Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) 25-2***
The Wildcats had a terrific season, handing regionally-ranked Lawrence Central (which started out No. 4 in the Midwest Region) its only three losses, with its own losses coming against North Central (split) and Hamilton Southeastern in the final game of the regular season. The third victory over Lawrence Central came in a IHSAA Class 4A playoff opener and the Wildcats got to the regional semifinals before the season was halted because of the current pandemic. Lawrence North could have potentially met undefeated and No. 16 Bloomington South in the state semifinals and that result would have had huge FAB 50 implications had both teams advanced that far. Six-foot-4 Tony Perkins eared first team all-state acclaim.
43. (NR) Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) 32-3
It looked like without 2019 All-American Trendon Watford (LSU) the Spartans would be down a notch after it finished No. 5 in the 2018-19 final FAB 50. That didn’t turn out to be the case, as coach Bucky McMillian’s club was formidable and recorded some terrific wins. The Spartans defeated NCISAA Class 3A champ Concord First Assembly of North Carolina (80-57) and No. 48 North Mecklenburg (77-66) to capture the Arby’s Classic in Tennessee. Had No. 26 Grayson (71-60 loss) hung on to win a state title, both Mountain Brook and No. 32 Lee would be a tad higher in the final rankings. Mountain Brook lost a heart-breaker to Lee to prevent the Spartans from a fourth consecutive AHSAA Class 7A state crown with the third loss coming by one point to Olive Branch of Mississippi, which recorded quality wins throughout the season. Wing Colby Jones was a first team all-state selection and Holt Bashinsky, a senior guard, was named to the third team for McMillian, who was named head coach at Samford in the off-season.
44. (NR) St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.) 22-5***
The Ravens fell to No. 38 Archbishop Stepinac (73-68) in the CHSAA Archdiocesan title game, but were able to defeat the Crusaders once in three tries, with the first meeting of the season an overtime loss. The Ravens also routed highly-regarded Gill St. Bernard of New Jersey with fellow Garden State club Bergen Catholic (69-67) and No. 13 Long Island Lutheran the only two clubs St. Raymond didn’t defeat on its schedule. The CHSAA Archdiocese of New York cancelled the remainder of the state tournament on March 12. Every team ranked at this spot and below in the FAB 50 had its season affected by COVID-19, which definitely impacted the overall rankings because of the plethora of games involving state ranked teams that were never played.
45. (BB) Male (Louisville, Ky.) 30-4***
The Bulldogs get a spot in the FAB 50 as Kentucky’s highest-rated team at the time the state’s Sweet 16 was cancelled. Male started out as its state’s highest ranked team in the preseason (No. 15 in the Midwest Region Rankings) in front of Madisonville-North Hopkins and Marshall County and both Male and Madison-North Hopkins were still alive in the single-class event when it was cancelled. Coach Tim Haworth’s club defeated Ballard of Louisville in what turned out to be an avenging win, as it split with the other Kentucky club it lost to (North Oldham). Ballard’s other two losses were to highly-regarded Briarcrest Christian of Tennessee (in overtime) and to No. 29 Scotlandville (59-39). Lincoln Memorial-bound guard Tyren Moore (17.9 ppg) was a first team all-state pick and Haworth has 12 lettermen returning next season.
46. (16) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 24-4***
The Saints were our preseason choice to capture the Philadelphia Catholic League title and they took care of business, although they dropped a few more regular season contests than they would have liked. The Saints got to the quarterfinals before the PIAA Class 3A state tourney was halted. In December, coach Carl Arrigale’s club drew an extremely tough draw in the opening round of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas and fell in a close game to eventual tourney champ Centennial of California. Goretti defeated highly-regarded Archbishop Wood in PCL play (66-55) before downing Roman Catholic in the league title game, 66-58, behind 22 points from Bowling Green-bound wing Cam Young. For Arrigale it was his record-breaking 11th Philly Catholic League title.
47. (BB) Rangeview (Aurora, Col.) 26-0***
The Raiders were the team to beat in the CHSAA Class 5A state tournament and were a solid FAB 50 bubble club in the preseason. They opened up No. 19 in the West Region Top 20 and were set to face Grandview of Aurora, the team the Raiders defeated by one point (38-37) to open the season, in their next playoff game before the CHSAA cancelled the remainder of its state tournament on March 12 after the University of Denver informed the governing body it could no longer host the event. Led by senior guard Obi Agbim (13.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and junior guard Cade Palmer (10.4 ppg) Rangeview was also at the Tarkanian Classic in December and it easily out-classed its division. We would have loved to see them in the Platinum bracket with the likes of No. 46 Neumann-Goretti, No. 41 Mater Dei and No. 34 Sheldon, but the Raiders had a scheduling issue with school finals.
48. (BB) North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 30-1***
Along with No. 37 Starkville, Oak Ridge of Orlando, Tampa Catholic, among others, the Vikings were seriously considered as the final team from its region in the preseason FAB 50. North Meck came in at No. 15 in the Southeast Region Top 20, one spot below preseason FAB 50 No. 49 Briarcrest Christian of Tennessee. The Vikings lived up to their advanced billing, finishing as the runner-up at the Arby’s Classic to No. 43 Mountain Brook. Coach Duane Lewis’ club, led by Georgia Tech-bound Tristan Maxwell, defeated Olympic of Charlotte (86-78) in the state Class 4A tournament and were the solid favorites vs. 26-5 Lumberton in the final before it was called off because of COVID-19.
49. (NR) Del City (Del City, Okla.) 24-1***
Not only did Coronavirus affect 37 FAB 50 teams, it also affected 69 of the 100 teams in our final regional rankings, so it’s safe to say the FAB 50’s bottom 25 could have looked completely different had the season been played out all the way through GEICO Nationals. There is no doubt, however, that the Eagles got the big win they needed over highly-regarded Washington of Tulsa (67-54) to finish as the top-ranked team from Oklahoma and the No. 4 team from the Southwest Region. The Eagles were the Class 5A state favorites before the state tourney was cancelled. Senior guards Nate Goodlow and Demontreal Crutchfield were all-state selections by the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association.
50. (NR) Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 21-2***
The final team in this year’s rankings comes in as the No. 5 team from the Southwest Region with a glossy record and no in-state losses, which is key in a season cut short by COVID-19. Coach Brian Morton’s Huskies fell to the No. 2 team from the region, Duncanville of Texas, by only seven points (51-44). That was the second game of the season and in its opener Blue Valley Northwest fell to Blue Springs of Missouri. The Huskies then closed the season out with 21 consecutive wins, advancing to the KSHSAA Class 6A semifinals with a 55-48 quarterfinal win over Lawrence Free State. Jack Chapman, a 6-foot-7 versatile D1 talent, led the charge all season long and was named first five all-state after averaging 21 ppg and 6 rpg.
Note: The FAB 50 powered by Ballislife.com is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 20 years ago.
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores